Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How do I recognize a hardware issue?

While I&TS will assist with software problems on student computers, due to warrantee and other issues (e.g., we don't stock computer parts), we cannot fix hardware problems with a computer.

But how do you tell?  Here are some simple ways to help narrow the issue down.

  • If the computer can't get to the login screen, it's usually a hardware issue.  It could be a bad hard drive or power supply, or something else, but this is usually a sign that it's just not running any software.
  • If something is physically broken -- cracked screen, water on keyboards -- than clearly it's hardware.  But this also applies to things like being unable to plug in your USB drive (I've seen broken USB ports).
  • If you've installed the drivers for a peripheral device -- printer, iPod, etc., and the device isn't recognized or does not work, there may be a problem with the device, not the software.

If you have a hardware issue, contact your manufacturer. If you bought a Dell computer under the Siena Purchase Program, the computer will be covered by a warrantee.  Dell will fix it.  Often they will come to visit you, but they also may want you to send it to them. It will only take a few days.

Other computers also may have similar programs.